The Commonwealth Ministerial Group on Guyana today reiterated the unequivocal and collective support of Commonwealth member governments for the maintenance and preservation of Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial borders, in accordance with the 1899 Arbitral Award, the upholding of the rule of international law, and the resolution of conflict and differences by peaceful means.
The Group met in New York on Thursday 24 September, 2015. The meeting was convened by the Secretary-General following a request from the Government of Guyana, and chaired by Senator the Hon Arnold Nicholson, Foreign Minister of Jamaica.
The Group received an update from Vice President and Foreign Minister of Guyana, HE Carl Greenidge, on recent developments in the ongoing controversy that was brought about by the Venezuelan contention that the Arbitral Award of 1899 is null and void and which Commonwealth member governments have followed closely since 1999. The Group, in particular, noted and shared the concerns of Guyana over Venezuela’s Presidential Decree 1859 and Decree 1787, which were viewed as a threat to the territorial integrity of Guyana.
The Group received with serious concern reports from Guyana regarding recent military activities of Venezuela along the border between the two countries and within the established marine areas of Guyana, leading to heightened tensions at the border.
The Group noted and commended the Statements issued by the Commonwealth Secretary-General on 27 June 2015, and by CARICOM Heads of Government on 7 July 2015.
The Group further noted and welcomed the efforts by the United Nations Secretary-General to facilitate a solution to the controversy between the two countries. The importance of keeping open diplomatic channels and engaging in dialogue was reiterated.
The Group noted Guyana’s preference that resort to the International Court of Justice to bring finality to the contention of the invalidity of the Arbitral Award should be urgently pursued.
The Group also agreed to draw its concerns to the attention of all 53 Commonwealth Heads of Government. (Commonwealth Secretariat)